With the circulation of additional redistricting maps, as well as concerns from public housing advocates and residents across the city about transparency, City Council President Ed Flynn has called for a halt of the Redistricting Process.
“I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues, however this process has unfortunately become tainted and flawed. Many neighbors and community organizations have expressed concerns about a lack of transparency, potential violations of the Open Meeting Law, as well as the perceived influence of outside organizations to disregard the core of prior districts and communities of interest in an attempt to potentially gerrymander districts based on future races,” said Council President Flynn. “It feels classist to me that we would ignore the wishes of public housing neighbors and remove them from representation within the communities they reside. I fail to see how dividing neighborhoods, public housing developments and communities of color is in the best interest of the City of Boston.”
In a statement last week, Councilor President Flynn called for a delay to the process indicating that there is no need to rush, and that the deadlines were self-imposed. According to the City of Boston Corporation Counsel, there is no legal requirement that redistricting be completed until 2026. There is also an opinion from Jeffrey Wice, Senior Fellow of the New York Census & Redistricting Institute at New York Law School, that there is no risk of a voting rights violation with the current council maps enacted in 2012.
Flynn said “I am calling for the establishment of a Blue-Ribbon Mapping Commission to carefully study this issue and create maps that will not tear neighborhoods apart and keep local communities together. This Commission can comprise of appointments made by the City Council, the Mayor’s Office, Secretary of State, and the City of Boston Election Department.”
Flynn said, “We have a chance to do this the right way- so let’s take a step back and protect the city from any potential lawsuits. The people of Boston deserve our best, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done.”